Gary Player blasts LIV Golf signees: ‘Don’t have the confidence they can be winners’

Gary Player didn't hold back in a recent interview discussing PGA Tour defectors.

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Gary Player didn’t hold back in a recent interview discussing PGA Tour defectors and the most recent high-profile LIV signee, Open champion Cameron Smith.

In an interview with BBC 5 radio, Player said there’s “no chance” LIV Golf could overtake the PGA Tour as the top circuit in pro golf and also criticized its format — and the league’s players.

“What sort of tour is that? Fifty-four holes, no cut, a team event nobody understands,” Player said. “It’s a tour for people who don’t have confidence in their future. They don’t have the confidence they can be winners.”

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Smith, who also won the Players Championship last season, was a big get for LIV and is now the new league’s highest-ranked player (No. 2 in the world). The 29-year-old Australian had been long-rumored to be heading to LIV, and he tried to elude questions surrounding his imminent PGA Tour departure for much of the last month, even after his Open victory at St. Andrews.

“Will he be able to realize this great dream of being a champion? I don’t know,” Player said. “I don’t blame [Henrik] Stenson for going. He had no money, so he had to go. But this is a potential superstar. I think his advisors have given him the wrong advice.”

Player’s never been shy to share an opinion, but this one is somewhat surprising given the 86-year-old Hall-of-Famer also serves as a Golf Saudi ambassador. He himself was criticized for wearing a sweater with a Saudi Golf logo during the Masters honorary starters ceremony in April.

“I wouldn’t take a billion dollars for my nine majors on both tours,” Player said. “I worked hard. I had desire. I traveled the world. It was an education, I met wonderful people. How can you ever be a champion playing a tour with 54 holes and no cut?”


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Josh Berhow is the managing editor at The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at